Coronavirus update 25th August 2020

25th August 2020

Back to school: School leaders communication pack

We have created a communications pack with materials to help you inform and reassure parents who are preparing for their children’s return to school. The pack includes leaflets, images and videos to share with parents on the importance of regular handwashing, advice on travelling to and from school and templates for you to tailor for your school.

These resources are available to download through our Dropbox and the Public Health England communications resources hub.

We will update this pack as and when more content becomes available.

Parents are encouraged to visit gov.uk/backtoschool for information and practical guidance to help them plan for their children’s return to school. This includes our latest update to the guidance for parents and carers on what they need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges in the autumn term.

Schools and further education institutions to receive delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE)

Schools and further education institutions will shortly receive a delivery of a small amount of personal protective equipment (PPE). This one-off distribution of PPE will contain clinical face masks, aprons, gloves and visors, as well as the hand sanitiser needed to put on and take off PPE. The PPE is being provided free of charge by the Department of Health and Social Care to help build resilience across the education sector to respond to any suspected cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) arising in schools and colleges. Deliveries via Royal Mail will begin on 26 August. Visors will be sent as a separate delivery from the rest of the PPE.

As set out in our guidance on safe working in education, childcare and children's social care settings, PPE is only needed if a child, young person or other learner becomes ill with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms in school or college, and only then if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained. The symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) home testing kits

Schools and further education institutions will shortly receive an initial supply of ten home test kits in line with the commitment we made in July. Deliveries via Royal Mail will begin on 26 August. Email notifications will be sent two days before delivery.

You should only offer a home test kit to individuals who have developed symptoms while at school or college (or to their parent or carer if the child is under 18) in the exceptional circumstance that you believe they may have barriers to accessing a test elsewhere, and that giving them a home test kit directly will therefore significantly increase the likelihood of them getting tested. This will help you to take swift action to protect students and staff in the event of a positive test result. The symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

From 1 September, if schools or further education institutions have not received their test kits by the start of their term, they should contact the Test and Trace helpdesk on 119.

Educational settings status form to resume on 1 September

From Tuesday 1 September, schools and colleges will be asked to resume completing a revised daily educational setting status form. We have reviewed your feedback from the previous form and have minimised the amount of information we will be collecting. We will be asking you to provide information on:

  • number of pupils or students in attendance
  • number of pupils or students with a social worker or with an education, health and care plan
  • number of teacher absences

The information you provide through the form continues to support the Government’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

We will provide further instruction and a link to the educational setting status form shortly.

Updated guidance on protective measures for holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings for children

We have updated our guidance on the protective measures for holiday and after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings for children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to set out the protective measures that are required from the start of the autumn term. This includes group sizes, and how providers can minimise the risk of children mixing outside of their school groups. We have also provided additional information on non-overnight domestic educational visits, and the use and cleaning of shared equipment and resources.

We have also updated our guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to align with these changes.

Data collections due to continue

To help reduce the burden on educational and care settings, the Department for Education and its agencies cancelled or paused all but the most essential data collections, services and requests in April.

We can confirm that the school workforce census, in addition to those already in place, will now continue and is due to go live on 5 November.

Register your interest in the Nuffield Early Language Intervention programme

The Department for Education is working with the Education Endowment Foundation to make online training and resources for the Nuffield Early Language Intervention available to state funded schools with a reception class. This is a high-quality, evidence-based, 20-week intervention designed to improve the language skills of reception age pupils. It involves scripted individual and small group language teaching sessions, delivered by trained school staff, usually teaching assistants.

Please register your interest using this application form by 30 October.

Further details on the reception year early language programme can be found in the guidance on the coronavirus (COVID-19) catch-up premium.

Frequently asked questions for students receiving GCSEs, AS and A level results in summer 2020

We have published frequently asked questions for students receiving their GCSEs, AS and A levels and other qualifications in summer 2020. These cover results, appeals, the autumn examination series and university applications and clearing.

Action agreed to support students into preferred universities

The Government and the higher education sector have together agreed that all students who achieved the required grades will be offered a place at their first-choice university. The Government’s Higher Education Taskforce agreed to honour all offers across courses to students who meet their conditions this coming year wherever possible, or if maximum capacity is reached to offer an alternative course or a deferred place.

To support this commitment, the Government has lifted the cap on domestic medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and undergraduate teacher training places. Additional teaching grant funding will also be provided to increase capacity in medical, nursing, STEM and other high-cost subjects which are vital to the country’s social needs and economy.

Further information on this announcement can be found here.

The exam results helpline available until 28 August

The Exam Results Helpline, delivered by the National Careers Service, will be available until 28 August to provide additional support to students and their parents as they receive their results. Callers to the helpline will have direct access to experienced careers advisers who can advise on the different options available to them including T levels, A levels, GCSEs, BTECs, apprenticeships and other vocational options. Support will also be available on topics such as clearing, university, gap years and the autumn exam series.

Phone: 0800 100 900

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 8am to 10pm

Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline

The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline by calling:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm.

On Monday 31 August (Bank Holiday) will operate from 10am to 4pm.